A Rigid Chop­per With MX DNA

“Ifound this bike in a dream. Or I should say the in­spi­ra­tion came to me in a dream, a bad dream,” The Chop Shop’s Har­ley Van Kirk re­counts. I don’t know what his idea of a bad dream is, but if this is as bad as his night­mares get, he’s do­ing okay. Many things look bet­ter with an ass on the end of them; “bad” is one of them and “badass” def­i­nitely de­scribes El Shovelle here. It’s a shovel-pow­ered rigid chop­per drip­ping with a dirt track MX vibe. Blend­ing two very dif­fer­ent realms of the cus­tom world, bikes like this are grow­ing MX chop­pers into their own sub­genre of the chop­per­smith’s art.

Orig­i­nally built to com­pete in the 2011 AMD World Cham­pi­onship of Cus­tom Bike Build­ing, it was de­signed again a few years ago and turned into what you see now. “The most chal­leng­ing part of this build was prob­a­bly try­ing to turn what I had orig­i­nally drawn out on pa­per into what you all see here to­day,” he con­tin­ues. “A few things changed out of ne­ces­sity, but for the most part we ended up with a pretty cool lit­tle ride. The other main chal­lenge was the time con­straint. I had the chas­sis done about nine months ahead of time, but for some rea­son I de­cided to wait eight months to get af­ter the rest of the build. So need­less to say, Turbo Mike and I spent the bet­ter part of the month lead­ing up to the AMD show liv­ing at the shop. Noth­ing like burn­ing the mid­night oil. Isn’t pro­cras­ti­na­tion great?”

For starters, its gas tank started life as a stock Sporty unit, which was then nar­rowed 3/8 inch, re­tun­neled 1 inch, given a flat bot­tom, mounted with brass grom­me­try, and given a bung ma­chined to ac­cept the Pro-tek MX cap.

Much like my ex, the Nar­row Glide front end is quite a piece of work. The sim­i­lar­i­ties end in court though. I don’t have a re­strain­ing order against the forks. El Shovelle’s stock Nar­row Glide front end was filled, shaved, and smoothed. A cus­tom head­light mount was ma­chined and welded in to ac­cept the Crime Scene head­lamp, and the mount also acts as the steer­ing stop. The lower legs were shaved and pol­ished as well. The Brass Belt Hug­ger tag bracket was fabbed and mounted to ac­cept the Crime Scene tail lamp.

The Chop Shop fabbed up the brass-plated fender struts to sup­port the mod­i­fied and slammed Twisted Chop­pers fender. “Di­a­mond” Dave Miller then laid the Euro Race-themed black and gold paint scheme. The Cnc-ma­chined solid brass cross­bar em­bel­lished with the bike’s given name (El Shovelle) was the fi­nal piece placed on the bike.

All of these handcrafted pieces are what make El Shovelle a sweet chop­per. The MX feel from Van Kirk’s dream is now a re­al­ity, and he’s pretty happy with the way it turned out. SC

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